It’s been several weeks since I have written a Blog entry. I’ve been traveling with the family and teaching, thus private writing time has been hard to come by; not due to a lack of material, let me assure you. 😳
Over the last several years, I have become aware of a phenomenon, first within myself and then my awareness broadened to realize that I am not at all alone in this. I’ve come to know it as, “THE DUST OFF.” Let’s begin with my most current personal example.
I have recently returned from a three-week, multiple-city journey, driven by teaching engagements and sprinkled by familial vacationing accompanied by my wife and son. At the beginning of the trip, I found myself operating at a low frequency, a bit melancholy, slightly irritated, just nervous enough to render myself consistantly uncomfortable and not quite sure as to why. In searching for answers as to the cause of my mental and emotional state, I came up with the following: it had been a few weeks since I had taught so I was feeling out of practice, I was concerned that I was ill-prepared for my upcoming teaching engagements, an old hip problem had flared up, was painful and restrictive, thus leaving me seemingly incapable of physically performing to the best of my ability and finally, I was in the midst of a spiritual practice that was feeling repressive and futile. Next on the agenda was to discover the antidote.
This state permeated the first half of my trip until one evening, I had a tough time falling asleep, which is very rare for me now, with thoughts, fears, and anxieties running high. I woke up early the next morning, some penetrating questions and then answers flowed through me, I had an honest little chat with my wife, I was drawn to read some text which was exactly what I needed to hear and boom, the tide began to shift. Over the next few days, my attitude changed, my hip started improving, I launched into a series of really powerful teaching experiences that broadened my repertoire and reach, I made some courageous moves towards a new dream of mine, I lightened up and here I am now, returned from my trip, inspired and feeling grateful for this most recent “DUST OFF.”
This phenomenon is such that we humans tend to do a mental, emotional, and/or physiological DUST OFF, just before we take an evolutionary LEAP. In other words, we tend to regress, just before we experience any major personal growth. Other examples lead me back to when our son was an infant and toddler: just before he would take a major leap in independence such as sitting up, crawling, walking, talking, or ceasing to breastfeed, he would seemingly regress emotionally, mentally or physically, such as become quite clingy, needy, have trouble doing things that he was previously proficient at, breastfeed excessively, and so on. And then, boom, he would take a major leap into the next phase of his evolution.
Post becoming aware of this phenomenon, I have witnessed myself, family and friends go through it many times. Just before we are about to let go of a thinking pattern or behavior and adopt a new, more evolutionary one, we tend to burrow back into that pattern or behavior one last time as if to make sure that we are really ready to drop it. It seems as though we need to experience it in a way that leaves us without a doubt that we no longer want it in our lives.
I find that these Dust Offs differ in length and intensity, depending upon the scale of the evolutionary leap that is on the horizon. This last one for me was short and of a medium intensity, ultimately clearing the way for some perspective and behavioral changes and taking steps towards even greater responsibility as a teacher. One of my larger Dust Offs came in the form of two several-month nervous breakdowns over the course of a year, and they were the pre-cursors to my entire perspective and experience of life changing, moving to Maui, leaving the entertainment business and in many ways, beginning my life again: an equitable exchange was had.
The reason I share this observation is that I have found having this knowledge to be quite helpful when in the midst of a DUST OFF. Let’s say we find ourselves engaging in thinking, and/or behaviors that we thought we were done with, we feel really down on ourselves for it, then we remember the DUST OFF phenomenon and become curious, maybe even excited, as to what evolutionary leap may be on the horizon.
When it is time to upgrade our computer software, an often essential part of that process is to do a sweep and delete all files that have become irrelevant in order to make space for the new software to run optimally. This awareness helps us to identify thoughts, emotions and behaviors that the universe is highlighting for deletion and become proactive in that evolutionary deletion process in order to make space for our new thoughts, emotions, behaviors, state of consciousness, to run optimally. Then, we are maybe able to cut ourselves a break for regressing a little, knowing that it is solely a part of the mechanism by which we advance to something greater. And the whole experience can get a little easier.
In order to make this understanding real for you, maybe take some past inventory of periods of major growth in your life and see if you can identify the preceding Dust Off phenomenon that occurred.
365, 24/7, the demand on us from the universe is to change, to evolve. So let’s revel in the DUST OFF and LEAP.
Love + Aloha, Wade.